Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

London, University of

London, University of. The idea of a London University is much older than any institution bearing the name. Professorships of divinity, music, rhetoric, astronomy, geometry, law, and physic, for the benefit of residents in London, were established by Sir Thomas Gresham in 1548; but no further steps were taken in this direction till 1827, when, through the efforts of the poet Campbell and others, the society now called University College came into existence, and sufficient capital was subscribed to erect the existing buildings in Gower Street. It was founded on a non-sectarian basis, and, though merely a teaching body, looked forward to a charter of incorporation, which should give it the power of conferring degrees; it therefore styled itself the "London University." The failure of a Bill for admitting Dissenters to the old universities added force to this demand; but, whilst incorporating University College, in 1835, the Government thought it more prudent to institute a separate body for the purpose of examining for degrees (1836). University College and King's College (incorporated 1829) were at once affiliated to the new foundation, which was governed by a Senate comprising a Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, and thirty-six fellows. Other colleges were affiliated in 1850, and candidates for degrees were required to show that they had received instruction at one of these during two years; but, as the Senate had no control over the affiliated colleges, the system was found unsatisfactory. It was abolished by the charter of 1858; but for medical degrees attendance and clinical practice at a recognised medical school remained a necessary qualification. At the same time the graduates were constituted members of the governing body under the title "Convocation." Since the formation of the Parliamentary constituency in 1867 Convocation has been the electoral body; it also has the power of accepting or rejecting new charters, of nominating three persons for one fellowship in every four, one of whom is selected by the Crown, and of discussing all matters concerning the university. The present charter, granted in 1863, is almost identical with that of 1858. The university was not attached to any one spot prior to 1870, when the building in Burlington Gardens was erected. In 1867 special examinations were instituted for women, but in 1878 they were placed in all respects on a perfectly equal footing with men. Degrees are now conferred in Arts, Science, Laws, Music, and Medicine; the medical degrees include Bachelor and Doctor, both of Medicine and Surgery. Since 1859 the study of English Philology and Literature has formed a special feature of the Arts course. The Science faculty was instituted in 1860, and the faculty of Music in 1877. The university course extends over two years, and embraces three examinations, that for degrees being preceded by the examination for matriculation, which must be passed by all candidates before they can proceed further; and the intermediate examination, designed to take the place of the certificates previously granted by the affiliated colleges. Different papers are set in the intermediate examination, and that for the Bachelor's degree, according as to whether the candidate seeks or does not seek honours. The various by-laws and rules regarding the examination are enacted by the Senate, but they must receive the sanction of the Home Secretary. The university is still to some extent supported by the Government; but the fees now cover the greater part of the expenses. The examiners are selected annually by the Senate from those who present themselves as applicants. Examinations may be held at any provincial centre, whether city, institution, or college, which expresses a desire to that effect. These examinations are conducted by the Senate, and take place simultaneously with those in London. Examinations are also held in the Colonies. Great efforts are now being made to establish a teaching university for the whole of London, and the question has been under consideration by a Royal Commission.